‘A great step in the right direction’: Supreme Court rules in favor of protecting gay, transgender individuals from workplace discrimination
On Monday, the Supreme Court ruled that language from the Civil Rights Act of 1964 applies to gender and sexual orientation, thereby protecting gay and transgender individuals from workplace discrimination.
The vote was 6 to 3, with Republican-appointed Justice Neil Gorsuch and Chief Justice John Roberts sided with the court’s liberal justices in the majority. Justices Samuel Alito, Brett Kavanaugh and Clarence Thomas dissented.
Widely viewed as a victory for gay and transgender individuals, Pat Rose, previously the vice president of PFLAG Grass Valley/Nevada City, a local chapter of a national organization that advocates on behalf of the LGBTQ+ community and their families, said the ruling should have occurred many years ago.
“Had it been there when I was much younger, it would have probably alleviated a lot of fears I had about being out in the workplace,” she said.
Now retired, Rose remembers fearing to speak out to make changes in the workplace because she thought she might be fired.
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Sophie Dermy, a Nevada County resident who identifies as genderqueer, said the court made a “landmark decision” on Monday.
“It’s a great step in the right direction,” they said.
Dermy also feels there’s still much work to be done, as Americans are currently embroiled in talks about what racial justice and a more just policing looks like. Individuals in the LGBTQ+ community, like black Americans, they said, fall victim to police and civilian violence.
Dermy hopes momentum from the protests continue and that real, lasting change occurs.
“It would be too easy to take this win as a way to be like ‘All right, we can go home now,’” they said.
There have been dramatic changes to how Americans view the LGBTQ+ community. In 2004, 60% of Americans opposed same-sex marriage, but 15 years later that same percentage of people flipped to supporting same-sex marriage. Rose figures much of the changed beliefs come from social media platforms and television, which helped to showcase gay individuals in a normal light.
When Rose and her wife got married in 2013, she remembers people coming to the reception simply to support them.
“We were very, very pleasantly surprised at the acceptance of the people around us,” she said.
For young people in the local LGBTQ+ community, Dermy said one of the biggest problems is that of isolation, and simply trying to connect queer, gay and trans people.
“It is a small town and we’re widely spaced and there’s not a lot of opportunity for queer folks to meet each other,” they said.
To contact Staff Writer Sam Corey, email email@example.com or call 530-477-4219.
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